3 Ways the IoT will Transform the Packaging Industry

The Internet of Things, or IoT, is altering a number of industries. It is leading to real time data collection and analysis and connecting a massive number of items to the internet. It is also having a profound effect on the packaging industry, which is already heavily automated. Here are three ways the IoT is and will continue to transform the packaging industry.

Streamlined Communications and Reporting

The IoT will speed up and expand the communication network of equipment talking to each other and control systems. Machine to machine communications will become more common and streamlined, providing deeper insight into operations. For example, labels get printed and applied as things come off the assembly line, and the information is automatically logged to the inventory system. You’ll know exactly how much work is in progress and how much has been completed.

Improved Overall Productivity

When packaging equipment is connected and communicating with the network as a whole, you’ll find out about jams and error messages immediately. The massive amounts of data collected could be analyzed for better root cause analysis and improved predictive maintenance. That will eventually lead to improved productivity, because you’re preventing unplanned breakdowns or issues that cause defective products to be made. Your overall equipment effectiveness goes up.

The ability to quickly change out hardware to accommodate different materials and package sizes in newer packaging equipment is certainly a plus. That’s a case of the physical hardware being made as flexible as the software, and it relies on the central processor being smart enough to adapt immediately.

Total Cost of Ownership Comes Down

There is hope that the IoT will lead to a reduction in the total cost of ownership. Obviously, fewer equipment breakdowns contribute to this. The IoT’s biggest promised benefit is energy savings, such as shutting down equipment when not in use, reducing the associated power bill. The IoT allows you to turn on and off items when not in use without affecting the overall flow of inventory. The intelligence built into the IoT includes the ability to update software easily and remotely. If you come up with a packaging process that uses far less energy, just update all the other packagers to propagate the change. This is likely to reduce the cost to service and upgrade equipment, bringing down its TCO.

If you want to know how to select the right case packer machine, look at the total cost of ownership as well as its overall cost – you may find that the slightly smarter, more flexible unit is the better deal over the long-term.

Meeting the Demands of On Demand Manufacturing

One of the clear benefits of the IoT in packaging is the ability to meet the demands of on demand manufacturing. Consumers are shifting to “little and often” shopping that forces suppliers to alter packaging design and products often. IoT allows businesses to change rapidly. It may mean changing the labels printed on the assembly line as soon as you authorize the warning label change or altering the color palette of the box. With the IoT, customization of packages becomes practical on a case by case basis.

Packaging equipment should no longer operate in a silo and will only get enhanced by the possibilities the IoT has to offer. The benefits of connectivity are now too great to be ignored.

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